I live in a great state where you can ride year round, deserts galore, single track heaven, with a ton of adventurous motorcyclicts like myself.
I'd like to share with you my experiences in Arizona. I've lived here all my life and explored most of it, either by hiking, 4 wheeling, mtbing, and riding my motorcycles.
I'd like to document these travels here to share with you, friends, and family.
Until recently, I thought I covered most of the state, but then was presented a challenge of sorts and found that there was alot of hidden treasures left to discover. I signed up for a Riders Cup Challenge put on by http://www.azbeemers.org/index.php
I sent in the small registration fee and sortly received my t-shirt and a list of places to venture off and find, now since the challenge is still going and will be ending soon, I can't really give up all the sites just yet, but they will come and I'll post short RR's here when time is available. I'll be somewhat vague as to which trails or roads to take as to protect the area's from people who won't do the research for themselves.
A challenge I can share right now was a destination I picked to explore.
I decided on a place called Gold Kings Mansion, buried up in the Hualapai Mountains near Kingman. Built in 1929 the mansion housed the mine foreman and investors of the mine. The mine had a short life of about 1 year due to the mine not producing what was to be expected, it was only 180 ft deep before it was tapped out, and with the Great Depression hitting at about the same time, the mine was closed left behind in the canyon, to be visited by off-roaders and explorers.
Off of US 93 onto CO 129 is where the adventure starts, the dirt road is smooth and well maintained but then gets rough when you take the turn off to go towards the Mansion.
As you climb into the mountains you find yourself in a canyon that has seen plenty of water.
Water running down the trail makes this a bit dangerous on a big bike. I ran into some off-roaders in jeeps prepped for the trails, no doors, large tires, and enough body damage to make an insurance adjuster cringe. They think I'm nuts for coming up here with such a large bike. I take their warnings in stride and let them know that I know when my limits have been met and I'm willing to walk in.
I'm getting quite the workout, but I'm still making forward progress until the Mansion comes into view and get hung up on a large rock.
It was time for a break anyhow, I take off my gear to cool down and wait a few minutes before trying to get the bike out.
My plan is to camp here tonight, I just bought a new tent and wanted to set it up but decide to just sleep inside the mansion and not set up the tent.
As I prepared my dinner I decide to look around before it gets dark.
As I walk around the back, I notice some stairs leading up the side of the mountain but can't go up there due to large overgrowth taking over the stairs, I find a way around and climb up the side, I see the trail reveals a way to get on the roof and start to make my way.
I'd like to stop here for a minute and talk about traveling alone. It's not that I prefer to, it's that sometimes it's hard to get your friends to agree on a destination, time or type of trip, or how long the trip will take. The benefits of traveling with others is great, you get to share an experience whether good or bad, the agony of a breakdown, the sweat of a hard trail, camaraderie, and the good feelings of accomplishing a goal.
However, on the side of this hill in back of the mansion, I'm glad to be alone. If anyone had been there, they would have seen what a pansy I can be, and the ridicule and laughter would have most likely kept me awake all night.
I slipped on the loose gravel and while trying to regain my footing I reached out for a rock, but the rock didn't feel right, a quick glance to reveal a snake that my hand was placed so firmly on, trying to keep me from falling.
Growing up in Arizona you've been taught at a young age that all snakes are bad, disgusting, and most of all deadly. It's best to think that way in order not to get bit.
So of course I scream and holler as I scramble away to a safe distance (still screaming) and trying to shake off the feeling of grabbing a handful of snake.
I go back for a closer look at what could have been an awful experience to find it's a harmless gopher snake (it could have been a rattlesnake), he's looking at me wondering why I'm making such a fuss, and breaking the harmony of such a beautiful day.
Of course the mood has now been set, I'm sleeping in an abandon building in a tight canyon, high up in the snake infested mountains where no one will hear me scream if something goes wrong. At this point, I say "self, it's time to go". But it's much too late to try and ride back down the trail, it will be getting dark soon. I make my way back into the mansion to secure myself for the night.
Tent goes up. That will at least protect me from snakes, (I hate snakes).
I noticed I had forgotten to pack my spoon so the next best thing is a tire spoon.
As the sun went down, the moonlight filled the canyon and the mansion. Still feeling creeped out by the snake, scarier thoughts filled my head as the wind passed through the building, sliding leaves across the concrete floor and the sheet metal from the nearby mine clanking away. Why do I let thoughts of movies enter my head in a setting like this? The Hills Have Eyes, Jeepers Creepers, what the hell is wrong with me?
Even with all that in my head the exhaustion of riding all day and then up into this canyon I went to sleep, only to be awoken in the morning by the sun rising and the birds singing.
A great place to bring your kids (or friends) camping to tell them ghost stories!